On May 30 through June 2, the Cherokee Indian Police Department (CIPD), with the assistance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Division of Drug Enforcement (DDE), coordinated a multi-agency interdiction operation that involved 17 law enforcement agencies that totaled 115 law enforcement officers. This operation was conducted during the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) per capita paycheck disbursement week.
The operation consisted of the CIPD; EBCI Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE); the Swain County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO); the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO); the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO); the Graham County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO); the Asheville Police Department (APD); the Waynesville Police Department (WPD); the Maggie Valley Police Department (MVPD); the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP); the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement (NCALE); the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI); the North Carolina Probation and Parole (NCPP); the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) – Forensic Tests for Alcohol (FTA) Branch; the United States Probation and Pretrial Services (USPP); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); and the BIA-DDE. The MET operation focused throughout the EBCI reservation and the immediately surrounding areas that are known source locations and routes for drugs destined to the EBCI reservation.
The operation began on Tuesday, May 30, focusing on known drug traffickers operating on or around the EBCI reservation. Members of the CIPD, EBCI ALE, SCSO, JCSO, HCSO, GCSO, WPD, MVPD, NCSHP, NCALE, NCSBI, NCPP, NCDHHS-FTA, USPP, ATF, DEA, and the BIA-DDE conducted interdiction, performed physical and electronic surveillance, and used confidential source intelligence to develop probable cause for arrests of known drug distributors and traffickers that were known to law enforcement.
Controlled substances seized – Total combined street value $200,238.64.
- 98 Arrests
- 2 Driving While Intoxicated
- 193 Citations
- 1016.9 grams of crystal methamphetamine (street value $93,554.80)
- 555.03 grams of fentanyl (street value $81,034.38)
- 2491.87 grams of marijuana (street value $21,131.06)
- 11.8 grams of cocaine (street value $1,038.40)
- 87 Pills (street value $3,480.00)
- 1 gram of unknown drug
- 10 guns
- 3 North Carolina State Probation searches
- 3 Federal Probation searches
- 5 search warrants
- 1 deployment of a mobile Breath Alcohol Test
- $4,600 United States Currency
The CIPD requested assistance from the BIA-DDE, due to the drug crisis that has caused an increase in violence and drug addiction. The BIA-DDE, along with their Federal, State, local and Tribal partners are working hand in hand to combat this crisis.
Throughout the planning stages of the operation BIA-DDE Agents contacted the EBCI ALE, SCSO, JCSO, HCSO, GCSO, APD, WPD, MVPD, NCSHP, NCALE, NCSBI, NCPP, NCDHHS-FTA, USPP, ATF, and DEA.
BIA-DDE agents also attempted to utilize the North Carolina National Guard Counterdrug Program for their aerial and ground assets.
Operational activity and significant events
Tuesday, May 30
The CIPD, EBCI ALE, SCSO, JCSO, HCSO, GCSO, APD, WPD, MVPD, NCSHP, NCALE, NCSBI, NCPP, NCDHHS-FTA, USPP, ATF, DEA, and BIA-DDE conducted surveillance, performed numerous traffic stops, and executed three (3) search warrants.
These enforcement activities resulted in 21 arrests, 38 citations, 267.2 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 446.33 grams of fentanyl, 6 grams of marijuana, 3 grams of cocaine, 3 pills, and 6 guns.
Wednesday, May 31
The CIPD, EBCI ALE, SCSO, JCSO, HCSO, GCSO, WPD, MVPD, NCSHP, NCALE, NCSBI, NCPP, NCDHHS-FTA, USPP, ATF, DEA, and BIA-DDE conducted surveillance, performed numerous traffic stops, executed two probation searches, and extracted a cellphone for an alcohol related fatality collision. Additionally, one pursuit occurred during this day that resulted in the arrest of the driver and their passenger. The pursuit started off the EBCI reservation and ended on the EBCI reservation. Due to the working relationship of this operation, law enforcement was able to quickly locate the vehicle that fled and arrest the driver who was hiding in the woods, along with their passenger, and seize trafficking quantities of fentanyl.
These enforcement activities resulted in 38 arrests, 21 citations, 361.1 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 15.1 grams of fentanyl, 225.6 grams of marijuana, 74 pills, 1 gram of an unknown drug, and 1 gun.
Thursday, June 1
The CIPD, EBCI ALE, SCSO, JCSO, HCSO, GCSO, WPD, MVPD, NCSHP, NCALE, NCSBI, NCPP, NCDHHS-FTA, USPP, ATF, DEA, and BIA-DDE conducted surveillance, performed numerous traffic stops, and executed two probation searches along with one search warrant.
The day’s enforcement actions resulted in 22 arrests, 27 citations, 335.10 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 1.1 grams of fentanyl, 145.1 grams of marijuana, 10 pills, and 2 guns.
Friday, June 2
The CIPD, EBCI ALE, SCSO, JCSO, HCSO, GCSO, WPD, MVPD, NCSHP, NCALE, NCSBI, NCPP, NCDHHS-FTA, USPP, ATF, DEA, and BIA-DDE conducted a custodial interview, extracted a cellphone for a drug investigation, conducted surveillance, performed numerous traffic stops, and executed two probation searches and one search warrant. During the execution of this search warrant, a 2-year old child was discovered inside the location where the warrant was executed.
The child was taken into the custody of child protective services who later determined that the 2-year-old child tested positive for fentanyl. The 2-year old child was later hospitalized for evaluation and monitoring.
The day’s enforcement actions resulted in 17 arrests, 24 citations, 53.50 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 92.50 grams of fentanyl, 8.8 grams of cocaine, 2115.17 grams of marijuana, 2 guns, and $4,600 US Currency.
Breakdown of arrests and citations
98 arrests – Driving While Intoxicated, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of methamphetamine, possession of fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, trafficking in fentanyl, trafficking in methamphetamine, conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, conspiracy to traffic fentanyl, carrying a concealed weapon, firearm by felon, possession of a stolen firearm, and child abuse.
193 citations – driving while license revoked, no driver’s license, revoked license plate, running stop light, failure to wear seatbelts, unsafe movement, open container, speeding, impeding traffic, failure to register vehicle, inspection violation, no rear lamp, reckless driving, no insurance, fictious tag, expired tag, window tint violation, and Alcohol Beverage Commission violation,
As this operation was underway, the CIPD responded to an overdose death that occurred on the Qualla Boundary of the EBCI.
At the end of this operation, majority of the law enforcement agencies requested that this operation be conducted more regularly as it builds working relationship with other agencies and has an impact in all jurisdictions that participated. This operation may be conducted semi-annually, specifically around the EBCI per capita paycheck disbursement week.